MPR Speaker urges to accelerate budget allocation

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Speaker of the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) Bambang Soesatyo. (Photo: Rayi Gigih/IO)

IO – Indonesia’s declining national economic growth rate, predicted to slide to minus 5.32% in the Second Quarter of 2020, is a threat that demands an urgent solution. Speaker of the People’s Consultative Assembly (Majelis Permusyawaratan Rakyat – “MPR”) Bambang Soesatyo takes this data published by Statistics Indonesia (Badan Pusat Statistik – “BPS”) seriously, as it indicates the possibility that Indonesia is in fact sliding into an economic recession. Therefore, he implores the Government to expedite its bureaucracy, budget distribution and data-taking in order to quickly ascertain budget expenditures and allocations – in the quest to revive a flagging economy and forestall the specter of recession. “The Government must be able to determine its priorities, balancing speed and effectiveness when expending funds from its budget, for items such as the provision of social aid and corporate funding,” he declared on Wednesday (05/08/2020). 

Bambang believes that in the current situation, the Government take extra care when determining policies and allocating budgets, to ensure effective economic recovery. “I encourage the Government to do its best to prevent negative economic growth, especially in Third Quarter of 2020, by continuing to stimulate expenditures and to gradually reopen access to the economy,” he said. 

Bambang appreciates President Joko Widodo’s firmness in commanding Regional Governments to promptly absorb and spend the IDR 170 trillion of their budgets still being deposited in banks. “The IDR 170 trillion of Regional Government budget still piling up in banks is not a small sum. President Joko Widodo’s order that Regional Governments quickly spend this budget in order to facilitate Indonesian economic recovery. We hope and pray that this amount will stimulate Indonesia’s economy in the Third Quarter of 2020,” he said. 

President Joko Widodo earlier stated that this year’s Third Quarter is key for the recovery of the national economy, amid the curse of an ongoing pandemic. Therefore, he instructs his staff expedite Government expenditures for running the economy. “Nowadays I watch ministerial expenditures daily – what percent is the increase in daily spending. Daily. Because the key is in the Third Quarter. As soon as the Quarter leverages our economy toward a positive economic growth level, that’s it – the Fourth Quarter will be easier, and next year will Insha Allah, with Allah’s Will, be easier,” he declared in a recent closed meeting. 

The President further tells how Government expenditures will be the primary mover of the economy during the current pandemic. Therefore, he orders simplification of all regulations relating to Government expenditures, to be able to promptly satisfy urgent needs that demand a major effort. “I want everything to be sped up, especially those with large budgets. The Ministry of Culture and Education has IDR 70.7 trillion at its disposal, the Ministry of Social Affairs IDR 104.4 trillion, Ministry of Defense IDR 117.9 trillion, National Police IDR 92.6 trillion, and Ministry of Transportation IDR 32.7 trillion,” he said. 

The President further instructs his staff to work in accordance with a “crisis” mentality instead of a “business as usual” one. Government expenditures must also prioritize domestic products. “For example, the Ministry of Defense can take products from Dirgantara Indonesia (“DI”), Pindad, or PAL. We are the one paying here in cash. We should use our State Budget to get domestic products. I believe our Minister of Defense is better acquainted with these matters. We really need to put a brake on purchases from outside the country and strive to source similar products from national companies instead. For what? To trigger our economy, our economic growth,” he said. (dan)